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June 9, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: June 9, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: June 9, 2007 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: June 9, 2007

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, June 9, 2007.

Malaysian prime minister marries

File photo of Abdullah Badawi taken in 2004

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi married Jeanne Abdullah in a private ceremony today at Seri Perdana.

Premier Abdullah, 61, has been a widower since October 2005, when his wife of 40 years, Endon Mahmood, died of breast cancer. Jeanne, 53, is a hotel management professional who has served as a supervisor at the prime minister’s official residence in Putrajaya.

Sources


Two killed, nine hurt in South Thailand violence

Narathiwat is highlighted on a map of Thailand.

Two men were fatally shot today in Narathiwat Province in southern Thailand. The men were riding a motorcycle and were fired upon by gunmen who were waiting along the road.

Also in Narathiwat, a roadside bomb went off, injuring five Royal Thai Army soldiers. Three soldiers were wounded in an ambush attack. And, one police sergeant was seriously injured in a drive-by shooting.

Sources


Thailand deports 163 Hmong to Laos

Nong Khai border sign in Thailand.

Thailand today sent 163 Hmong people back to Laos, handing them over at the Vientiane-Nong Khai border point.

Thailand says the 163 entered the country illegally, but the Hmong said they were seeking political asylum, because in Laos they face persecution for their role in the Laotian Civil War, in which the Hmong sided with the United States in a war against the communist Pathet Lao. On Monday, Hmong military leader Vang Pao and eight others were arrested in the U.S. in a plot to overthrow the Laotian government. Thai officials said today’s deportations were routine, and were not linked with the Vang Pao case.

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Salvage crew boards grounded ship in Newcastle, Australia

Salvage crew boards grounded ship in Newcastle, Australia

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

The MV Pasha Bulker on Hobby’s Beach Newcastle

Aerial view of the location

A salvage team boarded the bulk carrier MV Pasha Bulker that has been stuck on a reef off Nobby’s Beach in Newcastle to assess damage.

New South Wales Maritime spokesman Neil Patchett told reporters that an aircraft from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority flew over the ship earlier this morning and reported there was no visible sign of oil leaking from the vessel, calling it “good news”.

Meanwhile, casualties from the storm that hit Newcastle yesterday continue to mount. The bodies of an elderly couple were found earlier today, bringing the confirmed death toll to five with three more still missing.

Divers and around 45 Police officers and SES volunteers are still searching for another adult and child missing from a family of five whose car crashed down an embankment when a section of the Old Pacific Highway collapsed during the storm.

While the storm has eased, it is expected to worsen again overnight. The Bureau of Meteorology, says Sydney is also expected to be affected by the storm tonight as it moves south.

Duty forecaster Julie Evans said, “The low pressure system is slowly moving south so the good news is it’s stopped absolutely pelting down in Newcastle and the Central Coast but now Sydney’s getting the brunt of it, and it’s also becoming heavier in the Illawarra.”

Related News

  • Worst storm in thirty years hits Newcastle, Australia, Wikinews, June 8, 2007.

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NTSB announces safety recommendations to be made in aftermath of Comair Flight 5191 disaster

NTSB announces safety recommendations to be made in aftermath of Comair Flight 5191 disaster

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Blue Grass Airport, Lexington

The American National Transportation Safety Board has announced that it will make new airline safety recommendations. This comes a result of its investigation into the Comair Flight 5191 disaster, in which a Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) CRJ-100ER crashed whilst attempting take-off from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, killing 49 people and leaving just one survivor. The plane was unable to take off because that runway was too short.

The NTSB has now announced that, on July 26, the date on which the NTSB is to determine the probable cause of the accident, they will issue safety recommendations regarding methods of preventing a recurrence of the disaster.

One of the recommendations will concern developing and implementing a cockpit-based system that will inform pilots when they are in the wrong location. Another will involve rescheduling the workloads of Air Traffic Controllers to ensure they receive more sleep, a request they had previously made in April.

Regarding location warning systems, the FAA has pointed out that they have been working on methods of preventing runway incursions (in which a person, ground vehicle or another aircraft is on the runway when or where it should not be), to which the National Transportation Safety Board chairman Mark Rosenker responded “The FAA is doing a great job testing these systems. The question we have is, when will you finally implement that technology?” FAA Associate Administrator Margaret Gilligan responded by saying that they were currently looking at just such a system, adding “We do have airlines that have committed to put that technology on the flight deck once it’s approved”. The system referred to involves runway signal lights and is currently being tested at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The NTSB will also look at runway and taxiway markings and the ways they can confuse pilots, as this issue has been identified as a contributing factor in the accident. Rosenker said the NTSB was “very interested” in this area. 140 airports have unclear or confusing markings in the US, but it is not certain if Blue Grass Airport is one of them. However, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) made a submission to the NTSB stating that they had found that the markings at Blue Grass Airport did not match those on the charts the pilots were using. ALPA went on to recommend greater standardisation of airport runway markings.

Blue Grass Airport responded yesterday by saying that there was nothing wrong with their runway markings, with spokesman Brian Ellestad saying “We have had numerous inspections before and after (the Comair crash) and have had no issues… FAA reiterates that we meet all requirements for signage, markings, lighting, runways and taxiways.”

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Médecins Sans Frontières warns of emerging crisis in eastern Chad

Médecins Sans Frontières warns of emerging crisis in eastern Chad

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Map of Chad showing border with Sudan.

The non-governmental aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, warned of a humanitarian crisis developing in the eastern region of Chad in central Africa, issued a press release Friday.

Chad, which shares part of its eastern border with Sudan, has been the recipient of refugees fleeing conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. In addition to the estimated 234,000 Sudanese refugees it manages, Chad now has an estimated 150,000 internally displaced persons, or IDPs, fleeing from attacks on villages in the eastern region where the government of Chad has been fighting an insurgency, which it claims was supported in the past by Sudan.

The Chadian IDPs are set up in rudimentary camps, lacking basic necessities such as food, water and proper shelter. According to a May, 2007 report by MSF’s research and epidemiological survey centre, 20 percent of children in camps near Goz Beida were suffering from acute malnutrition and “catastrophic” mortality rates.

IDP mother from North Darfur holds a 27-month-old malnourished child.

MSF complained of obstacles encountered in their effort to provide medical assistance to the needy. “In Goz Beida, the IDPs receive three to eight litres of water per person per day, whereas they should have 20 litres,” said Franck Joncret, MSF Head of Mission in Chad. Approximately 100 children are receiving treatment for malnutrition, while MSF estimated the number of acutely malnourished children to be greater than 2,000. “This policy of rationed aid for IDPs is unacceptable,” complained Joncret.

In April, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) initiated a three month intervention for the Chadian camps, which MSF described as “inadequate”. MSF also complained that they have not been given approval to open a paediatric hospital in Goz Beida to help deal with the malnutrition.

In the near term, MSF anticipated an increase in malaria and epidemic diarrhoeal diseases along with an dramatic increase in malnutrition cases. To help avert a humanitarian crisis, MSF pleaded for increased hospital capacity, a safe water supply for the camps, and the cooperation necessary to deal with malnutrition.

“It is imperative that the emergency in eastern Chad be fully recognised, that aid organisations provide massive, immediate aid to the IDPs and that the Chadian authorities facilitate humanitarian aid,” said Isabelle Defourny, manager of MSF programmes in Chad. The government of Chad has said it would agree to a UN police presence, but not a military force, in its eastern regions.

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Lordi horror movie receives 300,000 euros of Finnish government funding

Lordi horror movie receives 300,000 euros of Finnish government funding

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Finnish group Lordi perform Hard Rock Hallelujah at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.
Image: Indrek Galetin.

Dark Floors, a horror film under production in Northern Finland and starring the hard rock band Lordi (who are famed for their monster costumes and lyrical themes), has received €300,000 (£200,000) funding from the Finnish government.

Lordi are also famed for their record-breaking 292 point victory in the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 with their song Hard Rock Hallelujah. It was also the first time a hard rock song had won the contest, and Finland’s first ever victory.

The film is being shot in English, with a largely Finnish cast, and has a production cost of €4.2 million (£2.84 million). The plot features a “monster attack” on the world, with a young Autistic girl being the only person in a position to save it.

Lead singer Mr Lordi said that as their masks and costumes were derived from horror films it was “kind of natural” that they should make their own.

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Lewis Hamilton on his first pole for McLaren

Lewis Hamilton on his first pole for McLaren

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

File photo of Lewis Hamilton (2007). Credit: yolky

McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won his first pole position and together with his teammate Fernando Alonso will start from the front row of tomorrow FIA Formula-1 2007 Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal, Canada.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Hairpin. Credit: magicfab, 2005

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

During the first and second qualifying session Alonso stayed in the lead of his young companion, but on the dying lap of the third he lost the pole to Lewis by nearly half of a second.

The qualifying sessions on this track showed a number of driver errors, most notable of them was a collision of Heikki Kovallainen, Renault, when the Finn attacked the concrete wall too aggressively, causing severe damage to the back of his car.

Race stewards voided the penultimate lap done by Nick Heidfeld, when he mistakenly cut one of the track turns. However, in the last of his hotlaps, he had an error-free lap that counted and nabbed the third starting spot, overtaking both Ferrari cars of Massa and Raikkonen.

This pole became the major step to the first Formula One victory for Lewis, after he won four consecutive second places in the previous races.

Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
2007 Canadian Grand Prix
  • FIA Formula-1 2007 Canadian Grand Prix qualification, live TV broadcast, 9.06.2007 14:00 UTC
  • Hamilton grabs his maiden pole” — Formula1.com results, June 9, 2007
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Iraq protests Turkish artillery attacks

Filed under: Archived,Turkey — admin @ 5:00 am

Iraq protests Turkish artillery attacks – Wikinews, the free news source

Iraq protests Turkish artillery attacks

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Turkey
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Artillery attacks of the Turkish Armed Forces were officially protested by Iraq, says one news report. The foreign minister of Iraq sent a protest letter to Turkey, accusing Turkey of “shelling” Kurdish areas in Iraq. The letter said that the artillery caused heavy damage in northern Iraq and that it went on for several hours. It also said that these kinds of attacks “undermine confidence between the two nations and negatively affect their friendship”. Turkey has not confirmed such over-the-border attacks and has been moving armed troops into position on the border for the last several days.

“Iraq would like to take this opportunity to declare its resolve to co-operate with Turkish authorities to allay Turkey’s legitimate fears through a constructive dialogue and positive co-operation,” the letter said.

News reports say that Iraq is trying to keep the situation calm for the moment, and is trying to cooperate with Turkish forces to deal with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Their thinking is that this situation should not be dealt by the Kurds and Turks alone.

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Heat protection system on Space Shuttle Atlantis damaged during liftoff

Heat protection system on Space Shuttle Atlantis damaged during liftoff

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The hole in Atlantis’s TPS.
Image: NASA.

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis

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About Atlantis

Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis is one of the fleet of space shuttles belonging to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was the fourth operational shuttle built. Following the destruction of Columbia, it is one of the three fully operational shuttles remaining in the fleet. The other two are Discovery and Endeavour. After it completes STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope service mission, Atlantis is scheduled to be the first shuttle retired from the fleet.

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Space Shuttle Atlantis has received at least a 4 inch tear on its Thermal Protection System (TPS) on one of the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pods near the thrusters after it took off on June 8, but officials say the damage is not concerning yet, and the OMS was not damaged.

“There’s not a whole lot of concerns just yet,” said a spokesman for NASA, Louis Parker.

“Preliminary Area of Interest in TPS inspection: Around a 4 inch blanket reported sticking out at the port OMS pod. Crew reported that on the port OMS pod they can see a 4 to 5 inch piece of blanket sticking up. They are getting photos,” said NASA.

The OMS is used to control the shuttle’s movement in space and is also used for orbital injection and NASA says that preliminary imaging shows that the OMS was not damaged.

“Analysis by launch team looking at other camera views show that the tyvek cover did not strike the OMS pod,” said NASA.

Astronauts inspected the shuttle for more damage at approximately 2:00 p.m. (eastern time) using Atlantis’s robotic arm with digital cameras placed on the end, but found none and Atlantis is still planned to dock with the International Space Station.

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Canoe completes voyage from Hawaii to Japan

Filed under: Archived,Hawaii,Japan,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Canoe completes voyage from Hawaii to Japan

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

More than five months after setting off from Hawaii, the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea, reached Yokohama, Japan today.

The 62-foot (19-meter) doubled-hulled canoe, rigged with two sailing masts, completed a journey of 8,450 miles (13,600 kilometres).

Bruce Blankenfield, captain of the 10-member crew, said the journey was meant to celebrate the contributions that Japanese immigrants have made in Hawaii.

“It is like a reconnection,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “We also hope to build awareness of culture and our history.”

The Hokulea, or Hōkūleʻa, is patterned after the voyager canoes of ancient Hawaiian islanders. It was the tenth major journey for the boat, which first sailed in 1976 from Hawaii to Tahiti.

For part of the boat’s voyage, it was accompanied by a sister voyager canoe, the Alingano Maisu, to Satawal, where the Maisu was delivered as a gift to navigator Mau Piailug, who guided the Hōkūleʻa on its first cruise 31 years ago.

Along the way across the Pacific, it stopped in the Marshall Islands, Truk, Yap, Palua, Okinawa, Uwajima and Hiroshima before reaching Yokohama.

The return voyage for the Hōkūleʻa will be by ship, and it is expected be back in its Honolulu home port by July.

Sources

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Belgian voters decide fate of socialist-liberal coalition tomorrow

Belgian voters decide fate of socialist-liberal coalition tomorrow

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

The federal elections in Belgium tomorrow will decide the fate of the 8-year-long coalition of liberals and socialists, and will shake the cards for what politicians admit will be long and difficult negotiations.

Voting is mandatory in Belgium, and Belgians abroad have already voted, although their votes will only be counted tomorrow. A recent survey in the French-speaking part of Belgium shows that if voters could choose, 1 out 3 would stay at home.

The poll results

On the Flemish side, the final poll predicted a 29,9% victory for the Christian democratic party, which supports Flemish independence in a cartel with nationalist party N-VA. The far-right party Vlaams Belang was predicted to become the second largest political party with more than 20% of votes. The Flemish socialist and liberal parties would follow, the latter with the greatest setback of more than 8%.

The Flemish green party would get over 5% and get into parliament again, after their electoral loss 4 years ago, when the liberals and socialists decided to govern without them. The new right party of ex-judo wrestler, coach and politician Jean-Marie Dedecker would fail to do so, with only 3,8% of votes.

On the Walloon side of Belgium, no spectacular changes are expected. The socialist party of Elio Di Rupo might lose a few per cents, but with 33.1 per cent of votes would remain the largest political fraction in the south part of the country. The liberal party would become the second largest party, before the Christian democrats and the green party.

In the polls, some 20% of voters remain undecided.

Difficult coalition talks

Elio Di Rupo, leader of the Francophone Socialist Party.
Image: Luc van Braekel.

Yves Leterme, leader of the Flemish Christian Democrats.
Image: Smetty.be.

The Christian democrats are on a shared election list with the nationalist party NV-A, and remains to be seen how much of their demands for Walloon concessions will uphold in the negotiations after Sunday’s vote. Both Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrats) and Elio Di Rupo (Walloon socialists), the expected winners of the elections, are seen across the language borders as great threats to the other part of the country, Leterme because he strongly supports more Flemish autonomy, and Di Rupo because he symbolises the need to negotiate toward that goal. Leterme partially owes this perception to an interview in which he questioned the intellectual capacity of his French-speaking compatriots to learn Dutch.

The Flemish politicians who support more independence for Flanders have argued during the campaign that voters could trust them to break the force of the Walloon socialist party. While socialists and Christian democrats in Wallonia seem to be heading for a coalition, the leader of the Flemish socialists made it clear that he would not let his bigger sister party dictate their course, not excluding the possibility of an asymmetrical coalition in the two regions.

Topics during the elections

Following closely after the French presidential elections, the campaign focused more on the leaders than on the content, and gave the impression at times that these elections were about who would succeed Guy Verhofstadt (Flemish liberals) to become Prime Minister of Belgium.

Also, for the first time in 20 years, the elections have not centered around the far-right party Vlaams Belang, although topics of immigration and integration played an important role in the campaigns.

The importance of the federal relations to the elections was highlighted early on, when a spoof emission on the Francophone TV station RTBF in December last year reported that Flanders had separated itself from the federal Belgian state.

The relations between the French- and Dutch-speaking parts of the country, and related constitutional reformations, were an important topic during the campaign. Most Flemish parties support the idea that some responsibilities should be transferred from the federal level to the regions, but the opinions differ on the exact extent. The Flemish parties also want the electoral district around Brussels to be split.

The opposition parties during the campaign fiercely criticised the way the Ministry of Justice was handled during the past 8 years, and have blamed the liberals and socialists for the crowded situations in and escapes from the prisons.

The environment has also been an important element in the debates leading to the elections. All agree that there is a need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The left parties want to close the nuclear power plants to be sure that solar panels and windmills are fully developed, whereas the others disagree with this strategy and think nuclear power plants will be needed to ensure power supply.

In the ethical discussions, an interesting question was if the euthanasia laws, which make the act legal in Belgium, should be extended to include elderly patients who suffer from dementia, and to minors.

Other traditional elements such as taxes, employment, and social security also were present in the electoral campaigns of most parties.

Related news

  • “Wikinews Shorts: June 5, 2007” — Wikinews, June 5, 2007

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